Tips for Making a GitHub Profile Look More Professional

When you link to specific GitHub profiles from your resume, you want to make sure that you’re showing good work as well as good working practices. Remember: GitHub is not just a glorified DropBox (or choose your favorite other cloud storage provider) for Source Code. So, I wanted to pass along a few tips to help you take some of your larger project repos to the next level. Remember, everything doesn’t have to be 100% perfect. Nearly every project is some version of a work-in-progress.

First off, let’s go over what your repo might contain or be about. Here are just a few possibilities:

  • Desktop application
  • Data Analysis Project
  • Web application
  • System-level Service
  • Documentation/Notes/Lists

Here are some general tips for taking your repos to the next level:

  1. Write a thoughtful
    • If you’re not familiar, the contents of the repo’s appears under the list of code/files in a repository. You’ll notice it has the .md extension, meaning the file is written in GitHub MarkDown (just a specific flavor of regular MarkDown).
    • What you put in the README is going to vary somewhat depending on the contents… Is this a desktop application? a data analysis library of functionality? a set of notes or links?
    • In general, use the README to do the following:
      • Explain the purpose of the project/repository, maybe show some screen shots if this is a repo for an application… basically, grab the reader’s attention.
      • If someone were to clone or fork your repo and want to use it, what pre-requisite software, libraries, frameworks, etc. do they need to have installed?
      • If your repo is a collection of notes or documentations, consider providing a type of Table of Contents
  2. Organize your code professionally
    • All of your code and supporting files should not be in the root level of the repo.
    • There are lots of different ways to organize your source code or data and analysis code. So, I can’t give you a one-size-fits-all.
    • Usually, you’ll see a src, tests, docs, and/or data folder. Go with what makes sense for your project, but don’t just leave everything in the root folder.
    • If you’re unsure of good code organization strategies, look at some other repos on GitHub for inspiration.
  3. Commit History
    • Try not to wait for large, sweeping changes to your code-base before making a commit. Small-incremental commits in branches are best.
    • Remember that committing first happens on your local computer. You need to push the changes to GitHub for them to be reflected there.

Check out these resources as well for how to make your repositories as top-notch as possible.